The Dance Space – a space for us all. #SpaceToDance

Opening in 2020, The Dance Space will be a vibrant new home for dance in the heart of Brighton & Hove, revitalising the Circus Street area. A space for talented artists to explore, collaborate and create. A space for local people to discover and get involved in dance on their doorstep.

“The Dance Space will soon be a thriving home to dance and a visible demonstration of the excellent work that is already taking place.”
Hofesh Shechter, Choreographer and Ambassador for The Dance Space

Circus Street Market Development - on site progress 24 February 2016 Circus Street Market Development - on site progress 24 February 2016 Visual of The Dance Space. Image © ShedKM Reckless Sleepers. Image © Zoe Manders Urban Playground audience. Image © Zoe Manders The Dance Space campaign launch. Image © Zoe Manders Of Land And Tongue. Image © Zoe Manders Image © Zoe Manders Image © Zoe Manders Visual of The Dance Space. Image © ShedKM Reckless Sleepers. Image © Zoe Manders ZoieLogic Dance Company. Image © Cathedral Group Jamie Watton at Circus street. Image © Zoe Manders Urban Playground. Image © Zoe Manders Image © Zoe Manders Visual of The Dance Space. Image © ShedKM Of Land And Tongue. Image © Zoe Manders The Dance Space campaign launch. Image © Zoe Manders Urban Playground workshop. Image © Benji Anker William Forsythe at Circus Street. Image © Victor Frankowski Visual of The Dance Space. Image © ShedKM Theo Clinkard. Image © Zoe Manders


August 2017

South East Dance, Brighton and Hove City Council and U+I are delighted to have completed on agreements and announce the start of construction at the Circus Street site in the heart of Brighton signaling the advent of the long awaited The Dance Space. After many years of discussion, planning and fundraising, South East Dance can now look forward to opening the doors to a unique, state of the art dance facility, providing a hub for artists to develop their creativity, and a juncture for tapping into the creative energy of a diverse range of local communities.

Ground has now been broken with completion envisaged in January 2020. The Dance Space will add a critical dimension to Brighton’s cultural offer by creating a flagship home for contemporary dance in the heart of the city as well as a venue around which to host a calendar of performances, participatory activities and public events. As construction moves forward, so too will South East Dance’s work welcoming local residents to the building and encouraging their involvement and participation in shaping the programme of events.

“This is a landmark moment for us. It means we finally have the green light to forge ahead with plans to make The Dance Space a unique space for artists, as well as a resource for local people from all walks of life, to cultivate a passion for dance. We are so grateful to all those who have supported South East Dance on this journey so far and we look forward to this exciting new chapter.”
Jamie Watton, CEO/Artistic Director of South East Dance

“This is such positive news for advancing the infrastructure of dance.  The Dance Space will allow South East Dance to significantly build upon their formidable reputation for delivering cutting edge projects and commissions”
Hofesh Shechter, Ambassador for The Dance Space

“I am extremely pleased that all the requirements are now in place for the Circus Street regeneration development to be able to move full steam ahead. I am particularly delighted that The Dance Space is central to this as it will be a vital new strand in the cultural offer of Brighton & Hove, providing crucial opportunities for local communities of all ages and backgrounds across the entire city to benefit from the health and well-being aspects of dance. Furthermore, it will entice world-class artists here to create new work and help boost the local economy in the process.” 
Councillor Warren Morgan, Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council


February 2017

Garfield Weston Foundation has contributed to South East Dance’s capital appeal as a ‘Founding Funder’ of The Dance Space, making a grant of £75,000 and moving us a step closer to reaching our £3.5 million target. The Dance Space, due for completion in 2020, will be an iconic new centre for dance in the heart of Brighton & Hove, whilst also providing an important addition to the national dance infrastructure. The gift from the Garfield Weston Foundation will make a significant difference, allowing us to fit out The Dance Space to the highest standard, ensuring it will last for years to come.

To celebrate and recognise this gift South East Dance will name a section of The Dance Space after the Weston family – The Weston Hub. At the heart of the building, The Weston Hub will be a place of connectivity, a thriving social space that underpins our vision to connect local communities with artists of the highest calibre.

To date, South East Dance has raised 95% of the £3.5 million required to create The Dance Space, with funding confirmed from public, private and higher education partners. Our energies are now focussed on raising the final £173,000 to complete the building to the highest standard.

If you would like to make a donation, helping us to create The Dance Space, South East Dance would love to hear from you. Contact Francesca D Purcell, Head of Development on 01273 645 260 or email

Space to Dance – The Campaign

In April 2015 we launched our Space to Dance campaign (#SpaceToDance) to make The Dance Space happen.

Through a whole host of activity and events, we’ve been working hard for the past seven months to raise awareness and encourage support for The Dance Space via the campaign. We’ve seen outdoor live art performances, poster campaigns, case studies, dance floor squares on the streets of Brighton and much more – all inspiring local people to get involved and show their support. We’ve been delighted with the enthusiasm for the campaign to date, so a big thank you to all who have supported us so far.

Our work is only possible thanks to the support of people like you who are passionate about dance and value the contribution the arts make to all our lives. But we still need all the support we can get. If you would like to support the campaign to create The Dance Space please click here. Every pound donated will go towards making The Dance Space a reality.

Look out for #SpaceToDance on social media and across Brighton & Hove now. Spread the word, get involved and please donate if you can.

Why The Dance Space?

The Dance Space is integral to our vision and we would love you to be part of creating a vibrant new home for dance and choreography in the heart of Brighton & Hove. Our new creative and community space will bring artists, local people and our team together under one roof.

The Dance Space is vital because:

There’s a major lack of ‘fit for purpose’ creation and studio space for dance artists in Brighton & Hove and the south east.

68% of artists are forced to work elsewhere due to a lack of available workspace. Studio space is generally provided through improvised halls rather than ‘fit for purpose’ creation space (1).

It will help transform a previously neglected part of the city.

Our new home will be located in Queen’s Park, one of two areas in Brighton & Hove which sits in the top 1% of the most socially deprived neighbourhoods in England (2).

Because dance improves people’s lives, physically, emotionally and socially.

Around 75,000 people of all ages will use and benefit from The Dance Space each year, including those with little previous opportunity to participate in dance or the arts.

The Dance Space could retain c. £1.2 million each year which currently leaks from the local economy (3).

Retaining and attracting talent outside of the capital will enhance our economic contribution to the local community and city. As part of the Circus Street Market regeneration project it will also help stimulate significant economic growth.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can support The Dance Space, please contact Francesca Purcell or call us on 01273 696844

(1) Economic Impact Study of the Dance Artists & Practitioners Who Live & Work in Brighton & Hove, SAM, July 2008, commissioned by South East Dance (2) Socio-Economic Baseline Report, Brighton & Hove, Indices of Deprivation, 2010 (3) See 1. More recent estimates suggest The Dance Space will deliver double this figure due to the increasing influx of artists because of the high cost of living in London and hiring studios.

What’s happened so far?

Over the last three years we have been getting to know the communities around Circus Street, encouraging them to get involved in dance and bringing the derelict market site (where The Dance Space will sit) alive with dance.

"I have been incredibly impressed with the of work South East Dance has undertaken to engage communities in dance, in particular young people and the 60+ age group, to increase awareness of the health and wellbeing benefits of dance.”
Dr Caroline Lucas, MP, Brighton Pavilion

All past events at Circus Street

28 - 30 August 2014 - New Movement Collective: Casting Traces

Inspired by Paul Auster’s seminal novel, The New York Trilogy, this promenade performance invited the audience into a unique dance experience set within a paper labyrinth at Circus Street Market.

12 July 2014 - Reckless Sleepers: A String Section

Big Dance 2014 made an impact in Brighton with the return of Reckless Sleepers' raw and splintering A String Section. Armed with over 100 wooden chairs, 15 performers including 10 local volunteers, all armed with saws, performed to an intrigued audience at Circus Street Market.

20/21 June 2014 - Theo Clinkard: Of Land and Tongue

Following the success of his inaugural work Ordinary Courage, choreographer and designer Theo Clinkard's double bill "Chalk" and "Of Land and Tongue" came to Circus Street for four performances over two days. Read more in our blog. 

2 May 2014 - South East Dance and Brighton Festival bring choreographic artwork to Circus street Market

Throughout May the derelict Circus Street Market site near Grand Parade played host to unique choreographic art installation Nowhere and Everywhere At the Same Time No. 2 by internationally acclaimed American choreographer William Forsythe. Co-programmed by South East Dance as part of Brighton Festival, the work was installed between 3-25 May at Circus Street Market, the landmark site destined to become The Dance Space, a new home for dance in the City with national significance.

17 April 2014 - Urban Playground thrill audiences at Circus Street

Crowds were thrilled by a spectacular Parkour dance performance yesterday at Circus Street Market by Brighton dance company Urban Playground, funded by Cathedral Group and McLaren and organised by South East Dance. The event was part of an ongoing programme of activity by South East Dance aiming to bring world-class dance artists together with local communities.
Urban Playground also managed workshops over the past two days with over 50 local people, including adults and children from the neighbouring Tarner community, learning exciting dance moves in the extraordinary ‘urban decay’ setting of the old market building.

19 December 2013 - ZoieLogic Dance Theatre wow Circus Street

ZoieLogic Dance Theatre wowed local festival goers at the Circus Street Winterland Festival last week. To see some photo's and footage from the event please visit our blog.


What is The Dance Space?

The Dance Space will be a new home for dance in the in the heart of Brighton & Hove. It’s a creation and community space with three high specification dance studios, a performance space, serviced offices for creative industries and a base for South East Dance.

Who’s it for?

The Dance Space will be for professional dance artists and local people of all ages and abilities who have an interest in dance or the potential to develop one.

What’s going to happen in The Dance Space?

The Dance Space will offer a wide range of classes, community-led projects and performances for local people to discover, participate in and enjoy dance.

We will also work with professional dance artists and companies to offer residencies, commission more innovative dance projects and support new and interesting developments in choreographic creation. We want everyone to have a chance to see the best dance made by the most talented artists.

Why do we need a new space for dance?

Research tells us that 49% of England’s dance workforce is concentrated in the South, but 68% of dance artists in the city work outside of Brighton & Hove because there is no specialist creation workspace available. The Dance Space will address this shortage, with the potential to retain some of the £1.2 million which currently leaks from the local economy each year because professional artists are forced to make their work elsewhere.

Who are the main project partners?

Our main project partners are Brighton & Hove City Council, Arts Council England,

Circus Street Market developer U+I and the University of Brighton. We are also talking to a number of local organisations about potential new partnerships.

When will work start and when will The Dance Space open?

The wider development project started on site in November 2015. Construction of The Dance Space will begin in 2017 so the building can throw open its doors in 2020. 

How will The Dance Space contribute to the wider dance community?

The Dance Space will address the limited studio space available outside of the capital.

Importantly, it will help us to attract and retain talented artists locally in Brighton & Hove and the wider region. With our unique live/work units we’ll also be able to host artist residencies and master classes as well as provide ‘creation’ space for them to explore, research and create new work.

How will The Dance Space contribute to the local community and economy?

The Dance Space will help to transform the Queen’s Park ward in the east of Brighton, one of the city’s two most deprived areas and among the top 1% of the most deprived areas in England. As part of the wider Circus Street regeneration project, The Dance Space will be integral to the area’s regeneration and on the doorstep for local residents to enjoy.

How much will The Dance Space cost in total?

The total building costs are currently £3.5 million. 

How is The Dance Space being funded?

Brighton & Hove City Council, U+I and Arts Council England, who have been instrumental in getting the project where it is today. We also have support from the University of Brighton and the Wolfson Foundation, together with some donations from individual supporters. We are currently trying to raise the final funds needed to build The Dance Space through trusts and foundations, companies and people who are passionate about dance and appreciate the positive impact of the arts.

How much money do you need to raise?

We now have over 94% of our funding in place, including investment from Brighton & Hove City Council, University of Brighton, Arts Council England, U+I, The Wolfson Foundation, private donors and South East Dance itself. We now need to raise the remaining funds by summer 2018 in order to fully deliver our vision for The Dance Space.

How can I donate to The Dance Space?

You can make a donation to The Dance Space via our website. If you’d like to speak to us directly about making a donation, please call Francesca Purcell on 01273 645260. Every pound donated will take us one step closer to creating a fantastic new home for dance, for the city, for artists and for local people of all ages and backgrounds.

If you’re a UK taxpayer, please don’t forget to Gift Aid your donation so we can claim an additional 25% at no extra cost to you.

If you’re a company and would like to find out about sponsorship, please visit Sponsor Our Work.

Individuals and companies giving over £5,000 will be permanently recognised within the building as ‘Founders’ of The Dance Space, together with our main project partners. If you’d like to talk to us about being a Founder of The Dance Space, please call Francesca Purcell on 01273 645260.

I have a question that is not included in this FAQ.

If you have a question about The Dance Space which is not answered above, please email us at with your query and it will be directed to the appropriate member of the team.

Alternatively, you can call us on 01273 696844.


10/07/18 Jamie Watton (1966-2018)

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Jamie Watton, our CEO/Artistic Director. Jamie died peacefully on Friday 6th July after a short illness. Click here for further information

27/06/18 Work with us - Assistant Producer – Participation

We are looking for an excellent project coordinator, with a proven ability to work with communities volunteers and people of all ages. Apply now

03/05/18 Read our latest newsletter - The I Am Issue

Featuring Interviews, updates, news, reflections and more. Read the Newsletter here.

22/02/18 South East Dance presents: undisciplined

A micro-festival celebrating contemporary performance with a choreographic edge, by artists and imaginative thinkers who are not bound by a specific genre. View all events

07/08/17 Green light signals all systems go on The Dance Space

South East Dance, Brighton and Hove City Council and U+I are delighted to have completed on agreements and announce the start of construction at the Circus Street. Read More

06/07/17 NPO Funding Success

South East Dance is extremely pleased to be awarded renewed funding as an Arts Council, England National Portfolio Organisation. Read More


Rachel Saxon Dance @RachelSaxon_
Great day yesterday at @southeastdance Our City Dances festival! Got to see some wonderful performances by……
Retweeted by South East Dance

Kate Lodge @katelodgemccoy
Ken and Richard in action #Brighton #SEdancewelcome @southeastdance @bucfp_info
Retweeted by South East Dance

ZoieLogic @zoielogic
🚘 A HUGE #thanks to #Brighton and @southeastdance for having us today, we had so much fun☀️! #SEDanceWelcome
Retweeted by South East Dance

ZoieLogic @zoielogic
🚘 #RIDE in #VictoriaGardens #SEDanceWelcome @southeastdance NOW!! #RT
Retweeted by South East Dance

South East Dance @southeastdance
Thank you @Ragroof for a special afternoon at Brooke Mead #Brighton #SEDancewelcome…

Rose Kigwana @Nankwanga
My boss @cath_a_james having fun working on #ride @zoielogic the last show of Our City Dances Festival 2018……
Retweeted by South East Dance

South East Dance @southeastdance
Missing your dance hit now that #OurCityDances is over? Catch the multi award winning @thicktightdance @the beautif……

The Ragroof Players @Ragroof
Well done #LeechCourt #cowGirls you ⭐️shone⭐️ bright in the limelight at today’s #TeaDance #OurCityDances with……
Retweeted by South East Dance


Join our mailing list here

Tick here if you DO NOT give us permission to share your personal data with our carefully selected partners (artists, companies, promoters, venues and funders with whom we work). Click here to read our full Privacy Policy.


Follow us on your favourite
Social Media channels...

Identity and website design by de Ville | Website build by TOR Creative